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Catalan census links burqas with terror threat

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Burqas cover the whole face including the eyes whereas niqabs leave the eyes visible. Photo: Juan Warnand/AFP
12:45 CEST+02:00
Catalan cops are keeping a close eye on Muslim women wearing full-body veils to determine whether they are linked to any radical Islamist groups in the region.

Catalonia's Mossos d'Esquadra police are taking a census of every Muslim woman wearing a niqab or burqa. 

Whenever they see a woman wearing a full-body veil which also covers their faces, by taking down their details and passing it on to the local authorities.

"Catalan police have always been convinced that niqab-bearing women can be indicative of a radical or Salafist branch of Islam," Spain's Interior ministry explained.

On July 18th, the Catalan Parliament approved a motion which bans people from covering their faces if deemed a security risk.

Several political parties in the region are now pushing for the law to apply to Muslim head gear, which would prohibit its usage in public spaces across Catalonia.

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Salafism as a more rigorous Islamic movement associated with Sunni Muslims which defend the traditional values of the Koran.

Although the exact number of Muslims and veil-bearing women in Catalonia is not known, figures from the Islamic Andalusí Observatory state there are 427,000 people who practise Islam in the region.

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